Graduation season is almost upon us and since not a single high school had the foresight to ask me to give their commencement address (probably because I dropped out of college in my first semester), I thought I’d share the speech the Class of 2019 really needs to hear…
Hello graduates. I’ll keep it brief because I know your attention spans have been decimated by social media; I realize I’m not a meme or a gif and I’ve got approximately four seconds to grab your attention, so here goes.
Don’t go to college. It’s a scam.
Before you or your well-meaning ‘tiger parents’ who buy into the prevailing wisdom that a college degree is necessary to be successful in life take to Twitter to rile up a mob and ruin my life — hear me out.
Higher education is important and a privilege — but if you don’t know what you want to do, what you’re passionate about, what road you want to take — college is the most expensive way to figure it out.
These days, college is a luxury that only the rich can afford and a racket that ensnares everyone else in a lifetime of what is essentially indentured servitude and perpetual childhood. You will be buried forever under the weight of your student loans and forced to subsist on avocado toast in your well-meaning tiger parents’ basements.
Some desperate people are even breaking the law to give their dumb offspring the chance of getting into a top university. They should save their money! There are many ways to get an education and have a great career without saddling yourself in a lifetime of debt. No one tells you this — but the biggest myth we sell in America isn’t the idea that it’s a meritocracy — it’s the idea that you need a college degree to get a job.
You want a guaranteed six figures a year? LEARN A TRADE. There’s a shortage of skilled tradespeople in this country and it’s only getting worse. We need plumbers and electricians. BECOME A NURSE. Not only is being a nurse handy in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is coming for us all—it will also secure you a spot in someone’s bunker. LEARN TO CODE. You can do so for free online and then you can join Anonymous and take down the whole banking system.
If none of those options appeal to you, just enter the workforce and figure it out. That’s what I did. I dropped out of college because after one semester I realized a Communications degree wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on (no offense to Communications majors) and it would force me to take some corporate job I hated in order pay off my student loans (no offense to anyone with a corporate job).
I wanted to be a writer. I learned to read in kindergarten and I learned the rules of grammar in eighth grade, I figured I was pretty much set.
As you can see, I was write. I mean, right.
For those of you who want to be doctors or engineers or lawyers, college is necessary. In fact, please go to college. We need more real doctors and less fake ones who go on YouTube and tell people not to vaccinate their kids. Maybe you’re one of those kids. If that’s the case, stop reading this and go get vaccinated immediately (if you’re an anti-vaxxer, I don’t give a damn if you’re offended).
For most of you however, college will be a four-year exercise in binge drinking, procrastinating and chaining yourself to the Dean’s office in protest of a guest speaker who offends your delicate sensibilities. It’s a bubble in which you will more than likely develop an Adderall addiction, a crippling anxiety disorder only exacerbated by cry closets, and an attitude of entitlement and moral superiority about ‘privilege’ that will serve you well as a blogger in the Outrage Industrial Complex and literally nowhere else in life, ever.
You will be indoctrinated with a mentality of toxic victimhood and a hatred for democracy, capitalism, America and yourselves that is poisonous to society and your psyche. You’ll start using ridiculous terms like ‘microaggressions’ and ‘hate speech’ and ‘ableism’ and come to believe that you’re a victim of oppression, or an oppressor, or both at the same time (and that will really fuck with your head).
You’ll learn to indulge your feelings and believe that everyone else is responsible for them. You’ll come to expect trigger warnings and safe spaces and everyone handling you with kid gloves. Basically, you won’t learn much about life. It’s all the freedom of adulthood with none of the responsibilities or consequences.
You might be thinking, ‘But this sounds amazing, Bridget.’
And it is. If someone else is paying for it, by all means, piss away their money. Otherwise, this freedom will cost you.
Unless you’re specializing in something, you will leave college with a degree that doesn’t matter, $70,000 in debt that will take decades to pay off and a belief that certain kinds of work — like waiting tables or working at Starbucks — are beneath you now that you have a special piece of expensive paper that says you phoned your way through a Grievance Studies degree at Directional State University.
Once the college bubble bursts and you’re thrust into the real world, you’ll realize that you wasted four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and have no practical life skills or coping mechanisms.
You’ll move back into your childhood home and spend too much time on social media thinking everyone’s life is better than yours. You’ll grow bitter and spend a lot of time playing video games or binging Netflix. You will isolate yourself and gain weight. Your parents, worried, will send you to a therapist where they’ll tell you that you’re depressed and put you on meds, which you’ll wind up taking for the rest of your life (no offense to anyone on meds…which is everyone). You’ll spend a lot of time in therapy talking about how ‘life isn’t fair’ and that the American dream is a myth.
The biggest myth they sell you in college is that life owes you something. It doesn’t. Your job is to figure out what you can offer life with your unique gifts and circumstances and yes, struggles.
Today’s colleges teach that struggle can be avoided by clinging to a teddy bear in a cry closet. Struggle is life and it makes you stronger. Listening to people you don’t agree with makes you smarter. It forces you to think critically and sharpen your ideas. The belief that you’re a ‘victim’ and ‘oppressed’ prevents you from taking responsibility for your life.
The sooner you hold yourself accountable for your life moving forward, instead of blaming your parents, your teacher who said something you didn’t like one day, America, climate change, the baby boomers, your metabolism, the banking system (actually no, screw those guys) or your crappy childhood for holding you back — the sooner you become a badass adult who faces life head on, fearlessly.
The most important thing you can learn in life is resilience and you learn that by being challenged and feeling uncomfortable and awkward and pushed outside your comfort zone. That is how you grow.
And apparently the last place you’re going to learn those lessons these days, is college (no offense to anyone who wasted their money on college).
Good luck Class of 2019!!!!